Pop Tart: The devil wears lipstick independent.co Take a look at an interesting article we found.
L.A. Candy Entertainment Weekly Take a look at an interesting article we found.
Zachary Wagman: The Best Books You're Not Reading Huffington Post Take a look at an interesting article we found.
Sexism seems to rearing its "ugly" head at Wimbledon this year, but is it sexism or just a fact of life?
July 01, 2009
I just read in the New York Times that Allen Drury's “Advise and Consent” turned fifty.
For those that don’t remember, this Pulitzer Prize winning novel, detailing political backstabbing, was based on all sorts of real life characters.
Was Lafe Smith, the young senator from Iowa, meant to be a corn-fed version of John F. Kennedy? Was Seb Cooley Robert C. Byrd? Was…?
Roman à clef is French for "novel with a key." In the 17th century such novels actually came with a key matching fictional characters with their real life counterparts.
Now, it's a literary device that allows you to get away with murder as long as you don't actually name the person you're vilifying.
So no one will sue you; one hopes.
One of the earliest examples is “The Divine Comedy” where Dante places the political figures of his day in Hell. Considering 14th century Italian politics, he would have wound up there himself if they caught on.
In "Vile Bodies," Evelyn Waugh had to change a few names because they were too close to two of the more glamorous but wasted scoundrels of the period. So he changed them to “Miles Malpractice” and “Lord Parakeet.” (Might have been worse.)
The most famous film roman à clef has to go to "Citizen Kane," a thinly veiled story about William Randolph Hearst. It so enraged the newspaper tycoon that he prohibited mention of the film in any of his hundreds of newspapers.
The roman à clef has been called the least demanding of all the literary genres and one of the lowest forms of literature.
Which makes them perfect for summer reading.
Everyone was atwitter, back in the day, when “Valley of the Dolls” was devoured from the beaches of Malibu (especially) to East Hampton.
“So you think Helen Lawson is Ethel Merman? Is Neely O'Hara Judy Garland or Betty Hutton?”
Today, if you haven't read it, you might consider a new classic roman à clef, like “The Devil Wears Prada.” Or perhaps a few of the old classics of the genre, like, "All the King's Men" and "The Sun Also Rises."
Which brings me to a non-thinly veiled question.
What have you read recently you've liked? What’s on your summer reading list? Romans à clef or otherwise?
We'll all be taking notes.
Why Did Truman Capote Write Answered Prayers? psychobio.com Take a look at an interesting article we found.
How Did the Novel in English Come to Be? nvcc.edu Take a look at an interesting article we found.
William Randolph Hearst hearstcastle.org Take a look at an interesting article we found.
What's your favorite summer reading?